Love-love for Rexall

Toronto’s fancy new $38-million Rexall Centre is ready on time and on budget, and organizers of the Tennis Masters Canada tournament say they’re confident the world’s best men’s players will be dazzled, reported the Toronto Star July 21. From the comfy leather sofas and chairs in the players’ lounge, to the posh-looking clubhouse with its oversize lockers, to a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and there is even an on-site salon for players to get their hair done, Andy Roddick, Tim Henman, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer won’t have much to complain about, said Canadian doubles star and Olympic gold medallist Daniel Nestor. “This is a first-class venue and this is something we get to see most of the year on tour but we haven’t really seen in Toronto,” Nestor said yesterday at the tournament launch at York University.

In a separate story, the Star said Tennis Canada will be experimenting with two video boards above centre court that will show play live during next week’s Tennis Masters Canada tournament. “We want to engage the fans while they are sitting here, rather than being passive and ‘quiet please’,” Stacey Allaster, vice-president and tournament director for Tennis Canada, during a tour of the centre. Allaster said it is the first time that showing live video has been tried at a major tennis event. The benefit to fans will be the ability to see different angles during live play and replays.

A Toronto Sun story July 21 reported that Nestor couldn’t help but laugh at the question “How’s it different?” when asked to compare the new $38-million Rexall Centre at York University with the creaky National Tennis Centre. “It’s not comparable. It’s finally a first-class venue.”

The new Rexall Centre and its inaugural event, the Tennis Masters competition, was also mentioned July 20 on City-tv’s “Breakfast TV” and “CityPulse”, Global TV’s “Global News”.

Judge grants review for suspended student

Superior Court Justice Gloria Epstein ruled that a judicial review of Daniel Freeman-Maloy‘s suspension, set for Aug. 10, can proceed, reported the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail in similar stories July 21 based on a 10-page ruling released on July 20. CBC Radio also aired news of the decision on July 21.

The Star said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden had suspended the third-year political science student under an unusual presidential regulation that did not require her to grant Freeman-Maloy a hearing or an appeal. He broke campus rules by taking part in two protests on a prohibited part of the campus, despite warnings, and by using a megaphone, which Marsden said disrupted nearby classes. In both cases, the 22-year-old activist, who is Jewish but supports Palestinian rights, was at the centre of a pro-Palestinian rally designed to counter a pro-Israeli demonstration, on a campus where Mideast tensions have electrified student politics, reported the Star.

The University’s lawyers argued Monday there was no need for the court hearing sought by Freeman-Maloy because the University was granting him a hearing before a full internal discipline tribunal, which they said offered him an adequate alternative remedy to the one he was seeking in the courts. But in the decision released yesterday, Epstein said the proposed tribunal – staffed by two tenured professors and a student – was not an adequate alternative because Freeman-Maloy’s only route of appeal would be to Marsden, who was also the complainant in the University’s case against him, reported the newspapers. Epstein issued an injunction to prevent the University’s discipline hearing, which was scheduled to begin July 21.

Shipyard follies and defence diplomacy

Martin Shadwick, defence analyst with the York Centre for International and Security Studies, offered his expert opinion on two issues recently.

Maclean’s sought his comments about Ottawa’s quest for three hybrid supply ships, to replace vessels at the end of their 35-year service life, that is now provoking the most heated, behind-the-scenes debate. Not only is Ottawa determined to build the ships here, at a time when many shipyards have declined into virtual disuse, it wants the builders to design hybrid vessels to perform multiple tasks, said the magazine in its July 26 issue. But no such creature exists. Perhaps, said Shadwick, Ottawa could buy the hulls built elsewhere – and then fit them with such critical parts as electronics here. And while Shadwick liked the notion of ships with multiple uses, “I would be a lot happier if somebody else had done it first.”

Shadwick also commented on Prime Minister Paul Martin’s appointment of Bill Graham to national defence from foreign affairs in a Toronto Star story July 21. With his background in foreign affairs, military analysts are wondering whether Graham’s appointment will mean an emphasis on diplomacy rather than defence when it comes to deciding Canada’s role in helping to resolve international crises, said the Star. “I think there will be some differences there,” said Shadwick. “The two departments do have different ways of viewing the world.”

No consensus on reforming prostitution laws

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has urged federal politicians to “repeal all prostitution laws” and start over again, reported The Edmonton Sun July 21. The anti-soliciting law was designed to deal with the “visible nuisance” of street hooking but, instead, has placed women at risk, the editorial argued.

The fact that prostitutes live on the margins of society and are largely invisible may explain why Ottawa has ignored the issue for so long, said Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “There’s very little political gain in (reforming the prostitution laws),” he said, adding Canadians have mixed feelings about the subject. With no clear community consensus, there’s no real electoral advantage to amending the law, said Young. “It may be the right thing to do but will it be applauded?” he wonders. “There’s such ambivalence on this issue they’re just not sure what the right course of action is.”

Tres bien! Being bilingual like ‘brain gym’

The federal government says bilingualism helps hold the country together, and a new study says it may do the same for your aging brain, reported Canadian Press in a story printed in The Calgary Sun July 21. The study, headed by York University psychologist Ellen Bialystok, finds that being bilingual helps prevent people from losing their “mental edge” as they age. “Being bilingual is like going to a brain gym,” says Bialystok, whose research is published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology and Aging.

A Broadcast News story on Bialystok’s study was also aired on radio and television news programs across Canada July 20.

On air

  • Brendan Quine, physics and astronomy professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, discussed the moon landing 35 years ago of Apollo 11, in an item aired July 20 on CBC TV’s “Canada Now”, “The National” and regional affiliates’ news programs. He said, “In terms of the future of space travel, I’m extremely optimistic. I think that we will see a return to the moon and likely people on Mars within maybe two decades, certainly within my lifetime.”